Monday, August 2

World Press Photo show kicks off WAK festival


(From right) Korteweg, Karim, Mössenlechner, and van de Bunte marvel over a series of photographs at the exhibition. — Photo by Muhamad Rais Sanusi.

KUCHING: Photographs have the power of changing the world and opening the eyes of the people, said Karin Mössenlechner, The Netherlands Ambassador to Malaysia.

Speaking at a brief dialogue session at the launch of World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 at Padang Merdeka yesterday, Mössenlechner said that photos like Nick Ut’s iconic Napalm Girl (1972) and Nilüfer Demir’s photo of dead toddler Alan Kurdi lying face down on a beach (2015) shook the world when they were released.

“Photos can make an impression, mean a lot and change the world,” she said when officiating at The World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 at the Padang Merdeka.

This public open-air exhibition also kicked off the What About Kuching (WAK) 2018 festival.

Present were Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; Ministry Permanent Secretary Hii Chang Kee; Sarawak Museum Department director Ipoi Datan; Sarawak Museum Campus project director Hans van de Bunte; Laurens Korteweg from the World Press Photo Foundation; and WAK festival directors Donald Tan and Marina Foo-Tan.

In his speech, Abdul Karim said these 66 photographs will leave an impact on visitors with their representation of today’s world that will invoke a range of emotions.

“In short, the exhibition offers us in Kuching a view of the world of today, and seen with an open mind, it will allow these ‘Stories that Matter’ to reach out to us and make us think about today’s world,” he said.

Karim also added that the photojournalism workshops organised this weekend in conjunction with the exhibition received overwhelming response.

The World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 presents the best visual journalism of the year, and is hosted by the city of Kuching for the first time.

The prize-winning pictures are presented in an exhibition visiting around 100 cities in about 45 countries over the course of the year and seen by more than 4 million people worldwide.

The annual photo contest awards photographers for the best images contributing to the past year of visual journalism.

It is the world’s leading contest for professional press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers.

The exhibition is now open and will run until Oct 28 at the Padang Merdeka.

This travelling exhibition is brought to Kuching by the What About Kuching Festival and the Sarawak Museum Department.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak.

Further support was given by Lim Kok Wing Institute of Creative Technology Kuching for the design and installation of the exhibition at Padang Merdeka.

‘What About Kuching (WAK) 2018 – Celebrate Arts, Culture and Lifestyle’ happens from Sept 29 to Oct 28.

Other exhibitions that opened this weekend include The Brooke Gallery and The Ranee Exhibition; and Tattooing Nature: An Exploration of Natural Aesthetics (at The Old Courthouse).

For more information, visit